Encyclopedia of Buddhism Online

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Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism is the first comprehensive academic reference work devoted to the plurality of Buddhist traditions across Asia, offering readers a balanced and detailed treatment of this complex phenomenon in six thematically arranged volumes: literature and languages (I, publ. 2015), lives (II, publ. 2019), thought (III, forthcoming 2022), history (IV, forthcoming 2023), life and practice (V, forthcoming 2025), index and remaining issues (VI, forthcoming 2026).

Each volume contains substantial original essays by many of the world’s foremost scholars, essays which not only cover basic information and well-known issues but which also venture into areas as yet untouched by modern scholarship. An essential tool for anyone interested in Buddhism.
An online resource will provide easy access to the encyclopedia’s ever-growing corpus of information.

The online edition of volume 2 (Lives, publ. 2019) will be added in (mid-)2021, with further volumes following after their original publication in print.
Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism is under the general editorial control of Jonathan Silk (Leiden University, editor-in-chief), Richard Bowring (University of Cambridge) and Vincent Eltschinger (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris). In addition, each volume has a dedicated board of specialist editors.

More information: Brill.com

Ritual Texts: Korea

(7,079 words)

Author(s): Heesook Nam
Buddhist ritual refers to the diverse ceremonial practices performed by the Buddhist community, and in the case of Korea, it encompasses the regulations governing the lives of Buddhists in Korean society and their essential features. Buddhist ritual texts denote the manuals that prescribe the rules and formalities of the liturgical proceedings for Buddhist rituals.Publication of Buddhist Ritual Texts in KoreaIn Korea, all surviving Buddhist ritual texts are from the Chosŏn (朝鮮) period (1392–1910; for a compilation of Buddhist texts published in the Chos…

Ritual Texts: South Asia

(4,672 words)

Author(s): Péter-Dániel Szántó
For most of its flourish in South Asia, Buddhism was not averse to rituals. In fact, in its highly successful esoteric manifestation, the prescriptive literature of which forms the focus of this entry, performance of rituals became the dominant feature of the religion. From relatively humble beginnings as short scriptures containing spells and their applications promising the fulfillment of a variety of worldly aims, ritual literature grew at a very fast pace, culminating in grand compendia of s…

Ritual Texts: Tibet: New Tantras (Gsar ma)

(8,817 words)

Author(s): David B. Gray
The “new” ( gsar ma) tantric ritual literature was the product of the translation activity of the “latter transmission” ( phyi dar) of Buddhist teachings to Tibet, which began in the late 10th century and concluded circa the 14th century, when the flow of texts and practices between Tibet and India was reduced to a trickle. It includes translations of Indian Buddhist works as well as Tibetan ritual literature composed by scholars in the “new” schools of Tibetan Buddhism that were established on the basis of the new …

Rnying ma Tantras

(5,950 words)

Author(s): Robert Mayer
Tibetan scholars conventionally divide their canonical tantric literature under two major rubrics: the old tantras ( rnying ma) of the earlier spread of the doctrine ( bstan pa snga dar) and the new tantras ( gsar ma), of the later spread of the doctrine ( bstan pa phyi dar). The terminology developed after many previously unknown translations of Indian texts began to enter Tibet from the late 10th century onward, becoming known as the new tantras: hence the tantric traditions that had appeared before became known as the old tantras.This distinction applied only within the most esot…